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UV flashlights for homestead use

 
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When you get a UV flashlight, hoping to find the source of a cat pee smell, but then upon using it, realize it causes all sorts of other organic matter to fluoresce in interesting ways. So you end up spending half the night playing with it, looking at herbal salves, collected rainwater, wood, rocks, the composting toilet, spiders and insects, basically everything in your house other than potential locations of the smell you ostensibly got it to find...Then after seeing how neat fungus in your firewood looks with it, you start contemplating taking it out to explore the yard at night once the new moon rolls around and it's dark enough out there for it to work well...
Staff note (Pearl Sutton) :

This was split off from "You know you are a permie when.." as it is a wonderful conversation!
https://permies.com/t/640/56757/permie#1247292

 
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Heather Sharpe wrote:When you get a UV flashlight, hoping to find the source of a cat pee smell, but then upon using it, realize it causes all sorts of other organic matter to fluoresce in interesting ways. So you end up spending half the night playing with it, looking at herbal salves, collected rainwater, wood, rocks, the composting toilet, spiders and insects, basically everything in your house other than potential locations of the smell you ostensibly got it to find...Then after seeing how neat fungus in your firewood looks with it, you start contemplating taking it out to explore the yard at night once the new moon rolls around and it's dark enough out there for it to work well...



And, tomato hornworms glow at night using a UV flashlight. Even the tiny quarter inch ones light up. Take a jar of water with you.
 
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Carol Denton wrote:

And, tomato hornworms glow at night using a UV flashlight. Even the tiny quarter inch ones light up. Take a jar of water with you.


Oh seriously?! WHOO!! Buying a UV light!! You just made my day!!
:D
 
Heather Sharpe
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Carol Denton wrote:And, tomato hornworms glow at night using a UV flashlight. Even the tiny quarter inch ones light up. Take a jar of water with you.


Very cool! Supposedly, so do chicken lice and mites. Haven't found out for sure, hope to never find any to try it on. I just now realized if those glow, maybe chiggers glow too...This light is turning out to have far more potential uses than I ever imagined!
 
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If you use hornworms from your tobacco to feed and worm chickens.  They fight over them! I hope they glow under UV too.
 
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OK, now I'm curious - anybody know *why* these things glow under UV light? Is there some evolutionary benefit, or is it just left-over genes from when we all lived in the ocean?
 
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Jay angler, I wonder if they glow under that light because they've consumed blood? Don't investigators use blacklights to see blood spatter?
 
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This UV hijack deserves its own thread!

(Here's looking at you, kid, through insect eyes.)
Staff note (Pearl Sutton) :

I'm thinking that too....
Let me do some magic!

Staff note (Pearl Sutton) :

OK everyone, magic is done!
And we are back to "why do bugs glow?"

 
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Heather Sharpe wrote:When you get a UV flashlight, hoping to find the source of a cat pee smell, but then upon using it, realize it causes all sorts of other organic matter to fluoresce in interesting ways. So you end up spending half the night playing with it, looking at herbal salves, collected rainwater, wood, rocks, the composting toilet, spiders and insects, basically everything in your house other than potential locations of the smell you ostensibly got it to find...Then after seeing how neat fungus in your firewood looks with it, you start contemplating taking it out to explore the yard at night once the new moon rolls around and it's dark enough out there for it to work well...




Ok, now I have an excuse to buy a UV flashlight :)
 
Christopher Shepherd
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Thank you Pearl for the new thread.  Where would I find a nice robust flashlight style one to use on the farm?
 
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Look at scorpions with UV. More fun than a barrel of monkeys.
 
Pearl Sutton
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Mike Barkley wrote:Look at scorpions with UV. More fun than a barrel of monkeys.


Do they resent it?
Pissy scorpions get hostile....
:D
 
Heather Sharpe
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Thank you, Pearl for working your magic! Sorry for the accidental hijack!

Christopher Sheperd wrote:Where would I find a nice robust flashlight style one to use on the farm?


I wouldn't call it robust, but we got ours at a Meijer of all places for about $10. There are definitely more expensive and perhaps nicer ones out there. But this one seems totally workable.

Jay Angler wrote:OK, now I'm curious - anybody know *why* these things glow under UV light? Is there some evolutionary benefit, or is it just left-over genes from when we all lived in the ocean?

I wonder that too! One thing I recall reading about why it supposedly shows up lice or mites is that they have chitin in their exoskeletons. Though I wonder if that really is it, because I shone the light on a wolf spider, who presumably also has chitin in its exoskeleton and saw no fluorescence. On the other hand, fungus also contain chitin and those definitely fluoresce strongly.


 
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So blood and uh, "seed" also glow, right?
Maybe certain a certain class of proteins are to blame?
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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We self-absorbed hoo-man things actually have lousy eyesight. The spectrum is much wider, and animals make use of it.

Bees will find a plant 10 storeys up on the balcony of a high rise building. To them, it's a giant beacon.

Deer are active at dusk because they can see better than their predators at that hour. This is the "danger hour" for collisions with cars on highways. I know this to be true. It's called the "Bambi hour."

Birds see well into the ultraviolet. But migratory songbirds are blind to the many windows of my house on cloudy days. After cursing the carnage and mulling the problem, I purchased a roll of bass fishing line from a retailer and strung it over the windows. It's designed so fishermenwomen can see it with UV lights but the fish can't. The birds could certainly see it. The effect was instant. Thankfully.
 
Ellendra Nauriel
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:We self-absorbed hoo-man things actually have lousy eyesight. The spectrum is much wider, and animals make use of it.

Bees will find a plant 10 storeys up on the balcony of a high rise building. To them, it's a giant beacon.

Deer are active at dusk because they can see better than their predators at that hour. This is the "danger hour" for collisions with cars on highways. I know this to be true. It's called the "Bambi hour."

Birds see well into the ultraviolet. But migratory songbirds are blind to the many windows of my house on cloudy days. After cursing the carnage and mulling the problem, I purchased a roll of bass fishing line from a retailer and strung it over the windows. It's designed so fishermenwomen can see it with UV lights but the fish can't. The birds could certainly see it. The effect was instant. Thankfully.



I wonder if that could be incorporated into automobile paints and glass finishes for windows? Add a color that animals can see but humans can't. That might cut down on collisions.
 
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With deer, their natural predator evasion tactics makes things worse. They wait until the last moment, then sprint. That works with a coyote but not a fast moving car. Making noise helps them decide to move sooner or retreat. Honk the horn, or use those ultrasonic whistles (which will drive your dog crazy BTW).
 
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A strip of UV material on the LEADING EDGE of the wind power blades is the first thing that comes to mind.
I'm always mystified that birds get whacked to death so often by those big wind generator blades.  I'd love it if a relatively easy strip could be painted on those blades - and it could be studied carefully for the potential non-lethal results.  Gee, that would really be great.
Does anyone have a good Audubon Society connection?  I wonder if they're on to this?
 
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Howdy, Invisible Poster. My understanding is that the speed of wind turbine blades is deceptive -- to the eye, fairly slow, but for big turbines it is not far from 200 mph. I'm skeptical about UV coatings as a solution. In addition to bird strikes, there is concern that a lot of bats are killed by the prop wash. To my mind, the lesson is this: big energy generation, of any kind, has an equivalent cost. There is no free lunch.
 
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Use UV light to find horn worms on your maters ;-)
Black-light-horn-worm.jpg
Black-light-horn-worm-uv-night-hunt
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Awesome! Tomatoes be sacred. Go get 'em, Mart!
 
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Heather Sharpe wrote:

Jay Angler wrote:OK, now I'm curious - anybody know *why* these things glow under UV light? Is there some evolutionary benefit, or is it just left-over genes from when we all lived in the ocean?

I wonder that too! One thing I recall reading about why it supposedly shows up lice or mites is that they have chitin in their exoskeletons. Though I wonder if that really is it, because I shone the light on a wolf spider, who presumably also has chitin in its exoskeleton and saw no fluorescence. On the other hand, fungus also contain chitin and those definitely fluoresce strongly.



Looking this up, I found this article, which also has some beautiful arthropod photos under UV light:

https://www.wired.com/2013/11/arthropods-are-having-a-secret-rave/

A couple of relevant or otherwise humorous quotes from the article:

'Short answer: we don't really know for a lot of these animals [why they glow under UV light]. For non-scorpions, a lot of the literature is pretty much summarized as "Whoa, Dude! It Glows!" '

"Two compounds are involved in scorpion UV fluorescence: beta-carboline and 4-methyl, 7-hydroxycoumarin. You might recognize coumarin as a common plant compound, and it's often used as a perfume or in cinnamon flavors. I do not advise sniffing or licking a scorpion to see if they taste like a Cinnabon, though."
 
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If you have an inquisitive kid it's a barrel of fun. Most white colors have bluing agents in them which fluoresce under UV.

Btw, I watched a doe once look both ways, pass up a small break in traffic, and wait to cross like she had been trained to do it. It was freaky. I slowed way down because I'm paranoid of deer. I've had five or six deer collision in about 15 years. When I rode a motorcycle, the MSF class really drills it into you to think as if the other person were actually trying to kill you. So I slowed way way down and she just waited until the car after me had passed.
 
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Nathan Stewart wrote: Most white colors have bluing agents in them which fluoresce under UV.


This applies to most commercial laundry detergents. Which is why deer hunters launder their hunting clothes with soaps that don't fluoresce.
 
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William Bronson wrote:So blood and uh, "seed" also glow, right?
Maybe certain a certain class of proteins are to blame?


I think taking a UV light into a hotel room would not make for a restful night's sleep.
 
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This reminds me of a funny thing a friend saw in a discotheque many years ago when they had those UL lights that seemed to pick up white cotton. Some medallion man quite full of himself, thrusting his hips about on the dance floor, had apparently just come back from the gents and hadn't done up his trouser fly properly flashing about a flourescent seection of his Y-fronts.
 
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M James wrote:Jay angler, I wonder if they glow under that light because they've consumed blood? Don't investigators use blacklights to see blood spatter?


Actually blood glows under UV because they spray the crime scene with luminol.
Bureau of Crime Apprehension - Luminol (Blood)
 
Heather Sharpe
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I've discovered yet another use for UV flashlights on the homestead today. As I was wondering if my chickens' feed might be contaminated with aflatoxins (or some other kind of mold ick) and trying to find a simple way to rule that out, I found this nifty article: https://www.coleparmer.com/tech-article/aflatoxin-detection-using-blak-ray-uv-lamps
It's far from a conclusive test, but could be useful to get a sense of whether there was an issue to be further investigated. I sure wish I could find more information about what different colors of fluorescence indicate.

"The aflatoxins all have absorption maxima around 360nm with a molar absorptivity of about 20,000: the B toxins are named for their blue fluorescence (425nm) and the G toxins for their green-blue fluorescence (450nm). The B1 toxin is the most common, flowed by B2 toxin, while the G toxins are fairly rare. The fluorescence sensitivity of the G toxins is more than 10 times greater than that for the B toxins. The minimum detectable level is about 100 pgrams for the G toxins and 1 ngram for the B toxins.

Corn is inspected under the BLAK-RAY lamp for a characteristic bright greenish-yellow (BGY) fluorescence in broken and damaged kernels. The test takes 5 minutes or less. If the fluorescence is observed, aflatoxin may be present but not necessarily in appreciable or detectable levels. There are substances in corn and other food that fluoresce under long wave ultraviolet irradiation, but are not associated with aflatoxin. Many other fungi such as Aspergillus niger, various Penicillium species, Aspergillus repens and other species which do not produce aflatoxin may produce fluorescent harmless metabolites so that the fluorescence is not a specific indication of the presence of toxicogenic molds, although it may indicate that conditions have been favorable for growth of the toxicogenic molds."

This is also probably useful to keep in mind if searching for mold in the house.
 
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Tomato worms under UV light, pre-dawn, a month or so ago...
With the flash on my camera on you can see the worm, but he's hiding.
With just the UV on, there he is!!
with flash

with UV flashlight

 
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OH yeah!
He is big enough to eat by himself.
 
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Douglas, is there actual evidence of this?

 In addition to bird strikes, there is concern that a lot of bats are killed by the prop wash.


I am interested to know more.

From Wind myths birds and bats
Studies (here, here and here) of wind farms built in California and Spain in the 1980s have shown an "excessive" number of fatalities among six raptor species, including eagles and vultures.
The evidence suggests that poor planning and outmoded turbine design was largely responsible and the current thinking is that fewer, but much large turbines sited away
from known migratory paths of birds can significantly decrease the risk of bird strikes.

Bats, despite their ability to use sonar to avoid moving objects, are susceptible to "'barotrauma", a sense of disorientation caused by the rapid change of air pressure created by a turbines rotating blade.
An unexpectedly high number of bat fatalities have been recorded across the US and Europe over the past decade.
"..... If wind farms are located away from major migration routes and important feeding, breeding and roosting areas of those bird species known or suspected to be at risk, it is likely that they will have minimal impacts," says the RSPB. "We are involved in scrutinising hundreds of wind farm applications every year to determine their likely wildlife impacts, and we ultimately object to about 6% of those we engage with, because they threaten bird populations. Where developers are willing to adapt plans to reduce impacts to acceptable levels we withdraw our objections, in other cases we robustly oppose them."

It stresses, though, that there are "gaps in knowledge and understanding" of how turbines impact on bird and bat populations:
"The environmental impact of operational windfarms needs to be monitored – and policies and practices need to be adaptable."
 
Ellendra Nauriel
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Heather Sharpe wrote:I've discovered yet another use for UV flashlights on the homestead today. As I was wondering if my chickens' feed might be contaminated with aflatoxins (or some other kind of mold ick) and trying to find a simple way to rule that out, I found this nifty article: https://www.coleparmer.com/tech-article/aflatoxin-detection-using-blak-ray-uv-lamps
It's far from a conclusive test, but could be useful to get a sense of whether there was an issue to be further investigated. I sure wish I could find more information about what different colors of fluorescence indicate.

"The aflatoxins all have absorption maxima around 360nm with a molar absorptivity of about 20,000: the B toxins are named for their blue fluorescence (425nm) and the G toxins for their green-blue fluorescence (450nm). The B1 toxin is the most common, flowed by B2 toxin, while the G toxins are fairly rare. The fluorescence sensitivity of the G toxins is more than 10 times greater than that for the B toxins. The minimum detectable level is about 100 pgrams for the G toxins and 1 ngram for the B toxins.

Corn is inspected under the BLAK-RAY lamp for a characteristic bright greenish-yellow (BGY) fluorescence in broken and damaged kernels. The test takes 5 minutes or less. If the fluorescence is observed, aflatoxin may be present but not necessarily in appreciable or detectable levels. There are substances in corn and other food that fluoresce under long wave ultraviolet irradiation, but are not associated with aflatoxin. Many other fungi such as Aspergillus niger, various Penicillium species, Aspergillus repens and other species which do not produce aflatoxin may produce fluorescent harmless metabolites so that the fluorescence is not a specific indication of the presence of toxicogenic molds, although it may indicate that conditions have been favorable for growth of the toxicogenic molds."

This is also probably useful to keep in mind if searching for mold in the house.



The fungus I'm most concerned about is ergot. In my area, it's often rainy about the time rye is ready to harvest. I go through and pick out as much of the infested grain as possible, but I'm always concerned I missed some. And if I ever get the equipment to harvest more than a few handfuls of grain, the chance of me missing it goes up.

Thank you for mentioning that UV can be used to detect fungi! I checked, and according to the article I found, ergot should glow red under UV light. That's a relief!
 
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Well this is far from useful but pretty dang cool: pollen from some flowers, like the purple passion flower, are fluorescent.
Passion-Flower.JPG
[Thumbnail for Passion-Flower.JPG]
 
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Also useful for things like:
1)finding leaks (usually automotive fluids)using fluorescent dye
2)UV-cure resin is great stuff for fast+strong repairs.
 
K Eilander
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Here's a pic of the vitamix blender pitcher I repaired with food safe (for however much we trust that) uv resin.  It had a crack in the side and in the base after an unfortunate attempt to blend a spoon!

The fix has held up great even after much use and has saved me a couple hundred bucks for new parts!

BTW, For reference, the black stuff in the base is not blender slime, but Plasti-Coat plastic spray paint that I added at the same time.  It has mostly worn off since, but the fix is still doing fine.
WIN_20211007_20_08_17_Pro.jpg
[Thumbnail for WIN_20211007_20_08_17_Pro.jpg]
 
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Mike Barkley wrote:Look at scorpions with UV. More fun than a barrel of monkeys.

Well I don't know about the "fun" part but they sure do glow; that's mostly what I use my UV light for here in northeast Ga.
 
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